Author Life: My Schedule

 

I came across an old Q&A blog asking if I could write a blog on a typical day or week in a writer’s life. I decided to dust it off and republish it, but as I was reading I realized my schedule and habits had completely changed! So if you’ve ever wondered how I spend a day, here’s an example of my average daily schedule.


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Morning

7:30 or 8 is my sweet spot. I don’t force myself to get up at any specific time, though because sometimes I’m tired and I believe rest and sleep are two of the best things you can do for your body.

Once I’m up and moving, typically dressed casually for the day, read: ponytail, no makeup, bra on and shoes at the ready, I have a cup of coffee. These days I stick to half-decaf/half-caff, but only if Bulletproof decaf is in the house. It’s the only decaf I’ve found that doesn’t taste like chemicals.

While every morning isn’t the same, here are a few options I start with:

Visualizing - a new habit for me! I have an app called Tide so I set the “focus” feature to 15 minutes or so and read through my journal. In it, I’ve written affirmations, my ideal future (including what my house, income, and life will look like), and my purpose. I read them to myself, feeling the feelings of having all of those things now. It’s a wonderful way to start the day.

Reading - Usually this follows my visualization. I pick up a nonfiction book to sink my teeth into. Right now it’s The Success Principles by Jack Canfield.

Get to work - Some mornings, I simply sit down and check my email. I know, I know, not ideal. I check Instagram, too, which is my social media drug of choice.


Late morning

Around 11, I make something to eat and remind myself to drink some water if I haven’t already. Ever since we tried intermittent fasting, the hubs and I have decided that we don’t like to eat the second we wake up. When we do a typical breakfast for us is eggs + toast, a smoothie (packed with veggies & fruit), and oatmeal. My favorite morning smoothie: 1.5 cups frozen blueberries, 1 fresh banana, 2 Tablespoons walnuts, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 2 cups almond milk.

After that, I begin creating. Most days I start with the writing, but sometimes it’s a blog. (This one is being written at 10:45 AM.) Still other days it’s drawing/practicing on my iPad Pro with my iPencil. I check my planner to see what’s on the docket for the day and then I choose what I want to work on first.


Writing

On the previous incarnation of this blog, here’s what I had to say:

 

It’s been my experience that writers have no more free time than anyone else. Bummer right? Yes, I did not stumble upon a Time Freeze Gadget when I signed my contract with Grand Central Publishing. In fact, I often feel as if I have LESS time as a writer. Once the words and ideas start (even this blog) it is nothing to look up and notice two, three, or more hours have slipped past.

We all have the same 24 hours in a day, granted we don't have the same things that fill those hours. Some people have children, some don't, some people work full-time, some people care for their elderly parents or grandparents. 

But.

We are all capable of prioritizing to a certain extent. Maybe not every single day can be corralled into a tidy package of productivity, but many of your hours can be organized.

Which brings me to a question you may have... How do you fit writing into a busy life?

 
original artwork by Jessica Lemmon (c) 2018

original artwork by Jessica Lemmon (c) 2018

I remember those days! Having another part-time job and needing to show up for it wasn’t my favorite thing. Now, I have several part-time side hustles, including being an Independent Color Street stylist, and yet I feel as if I have more time than ever!

Still, the tips I shared back then are just as valid now, so I’m going to leave them in:

Tip #1: NEVER wait for your muse to show.

I don't believe in muses. I never have. Some writers do, and that's okay, but for me, my "muse" is my imagination. To tap into my imagination, I choose to be proactive, not passive. The way to stoke the fires of my imagination? Sit down, put my fingers on the keyboard, and start typing.

Tip #2: ALWAYS write for the trashcan.  There is no "right way" to put down words. Whether this makes you feel better or not I have no idea, but most of the time, it’s not right the first time. The idea that we have to get it perfect before putting it down can hold us back. I typically find my story 75% through the first draft anyway, and have to go back and hack up those finely polished words.

*Updated note: When I was a new writer I found my story in the second draft or sometimes the third. When I started out before I was published, sometimes it took me two or three drafts to find my story. The sooner I accepted that it wasn’t going to come out shiny the first time around, the more peaceful writer I became.


Late afternoon.

My creative mind gets really, really tired around 2:30 or 3 PM. If I have to make it over the hump and write some more words, I might go in for a cup of green tea or a final half-caff coffee. But if we’re being honest (and why not?), here are some of the things you can find me doing around this time:

Candy Crush. Yup. I said it. Something about the mind-numbing, adorably colorful games on my iPad relaxes me.

Go outside. If it’s not winter (in the winter I stay inside where it’s warm) I go outside to stand in the yard and soak up the sun, or I walk to the docks and look at the lake, or sometimes if the hubs can take a break, we’ll take the boat out for a quick jaunt across the water.

Work out. The perfect cure for your energy petering out? Moving your body. I’ve learned that expending that energy only returns my energy twofold. I love to work out at home so my go to workouts right now are: Erin Stutland’s Shrink Session or Yoga Studio (app).

Play with Canva/ my website(s). Most days you’ll find me hunched over the computer (and ignoring the pain in my shoulder from mousing) to update one of my websites. I recently rebuilt Lemmony.com, created OneDrinkWithJohn.com for Mr. Lemmony’s podcast, and I also built his other website theJohnLemmon.com. I love to update them and tinker (mostly tinker!), and often that involves creating graphics and stylizing photos which, face it, is my favorite thing to do besides write.


5 o'clock.

No one told me I had to keep the same hours as when I worked in Corporate America but somehow, I did. Five o’clock is for logging off and shutting down! And maybe that’s because the hubs still adheres to that schedule since he has a job, so I just follow suit. But “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” has such a nice ring to it, and we’ve been known to crack up a pair of beers at 5:01 PM and dash out the door for a golf cart and/or boat ride with the dog.


Early evening.

Outlander, a romance writer’s dream show!

Outlander, a romance writer’s dream show!

After we’ve rustled up some grub and spent the evening either soaking in the sun (summer) or lounging on the couch reading (winter), we’ll retire to the TV room.

I watch almost NO commercialized television (The Walking Dead is currently the lone exception, and even that I DVR so that I can fast forward through the commercials), but I love Netflix! And every so often there’s a show I fall head over heels for and it was when I originally wrote this blog (and is still) Outlander. I love that I can sign up for the Starz app for a few months and bail after the show is over.


Bedtime.

Sometimes we’ll do a little binge-watch of Supernatural, other times if I’m feeling antsy (in the winter especially), I’ll go upstairs and workout or slip into the hot tub. Then I wash my face and climb into bed to read. Right now I’m reading The Haunting of Hill House, and while I adore it, it’s sort of scaring me to pieces. (The Netflix show is the only scary show I’ve ever actually screamed out loud while watching. Highly recommended!)


That's it!

Nothing spectacular, no fairy dust, no bartering with a magical Muse.  Just a commitment to my passion and a very, very detailed weekly planner to make sure I hit all my goals!